THE government is considering the simultaneous rollout of both coronavirus vaccines of Sinovac and AstraZeneca in a bid to address the continuous increase in infections and contain the threat of new variants, the country’s vaccine czar said.
Speaking to reporters following the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines in the country on Thursday, Galvez said that the government might begin distributing a shipment of AstraZeneca shots to different hospitals on Friday once immunization experts submit their recommendation on how to allocate the doses.
“Ang ating timeline, yung Sinovac matapos po natin yung deployment this coming seven to 10 days and then pagsasabayin po namin ‘yan (So our timeline is that we should finish the deployment of Sinovac this coming seven to 10 days and then we will have a simultaneous deployment also with AstraZeneca),” Galvez said during a media interview.
“Hindi po namin tatapusin ang Sinovac at talagang simultaneously po ‘yan. Kung bukas ay maibigay na ang listahan ay aming pong irollout ang AstraZeneca (We will not finish yet the rollout of the Sinovac so we can have a simultaneous deployment. If tomorrow [Friday] the list for the allocation of the doses is released, then we will start the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines),” he added.
Through the global vaccine-sharing initiative Covax Facility, some 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country Thursday night.
The Philippines has also purchased 17 million doses of anti-coronavirus shots from the British pharmaceutical firm, with the help of private firms and local government units. The vaccines are expected to be delivered in mid-2021.
Under the Covax Facility, the country can also receive up to 9.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) had said.
Galvez said the Philippines must use up all 487,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to get more shipments from the Covax Facility.
The country launched its much-anticipated vaccination drive earlier this week, with frontliners and some government officials receiving the first shots of the China-donated Sinovac.
More than 9,000 people have been inoculated in the country since Monday.
The government is targeting to give free inoculations to 70 million Filipinos to reach herd immunity.
Around 160 million vaccines are expected to be secured by the country before the end of 2021.